How to Avoid Tag Jams in Variable Data Embossing Machines

How to Avoid Tag Jams in Variable Data Embossing Machines

Our team at U.S. Quick Tags is experienced with dealing with a variety of orders for tags embossing. It is not uncommon for us to process multiple orders for tags of different sizes, shapes, and thicknesses on the same day. So, of course, our clients wonder how we avoid tag jams in variable data embossing machines. 

We've asked our experts to explain what a tag jam is, why it happens, and how to avoid tag jams in variable data embossing machines. Indeed, when you are working with metal tags, the last thing you want is for them to get jammed inside the embossing machine, in a way that is often similar to the infamous paper jams office workers experience far too often with their printers. It can cause loss of material, delays, and also damage to the embossing machine. Unlike paper jams, metal tag jams can break components inside the machine, which leads to further costs and delays. So, first of all, we would like to seize the opportunity to explain that unlike the office printer, variable data embossing machines should be carefully maintained and looked after.

We appreciate that when a client reaches out to our team with an order of either the same design for a number of different tags, different designs for the same tag type, or varying designs for varying tags, they are not involved in the production process. As a result, many clients assume that all orders are treated simultaneously on the same embossing machine. At U.S. Quick Tags, we are committed to providing high-end American-made products for all our customers in the shortest possible time. That's why we don't take any chances on tag jams. Here is how we ensure we can carry on all your orders without causing jams in variable data embossing machines. 

How to Avoid Tag Jams in Variable Data Embossing Machines

Variable data embossing machines can handle different sets of data

In essence, embossing machines replaced manual labor when people used a set design on a die set pressed into the metal tag. Embossing machines have a set of striking heads that can add individual characters separately into the metal tag. That's precisely where variable data embossing machines thrive, as they don't rely on a physical die set. As a result, the team does not need to worry about the die sets leading to tag jams. 

Additionally, the machines rely on data input to create the different designs on the tag. The data is collected via a computer, ensuring each design is clearly presented. Typically, an excel spreadsheet is created with all the relevant information related to each embossing line. The embossing machine only needs to connect to the computer and read the transferred file. As such, if you need to emboss different designs, it will be reflected in the spreadsheet. Data variable embossing machines shine in these situations, as they can seamlessly switch from a design to another when reading your data. This does not cause tag jams, as the individual heads are designed to handle a variety of embossing patterns. 

Tags come in a variety of materials

What if we have competing orders for different material tags. At U.S. Quick Tags, our embossing machines can handle different metal tag materials:

  • Stainless steel
  • Brass
  • Aluminum
  • Steel

Will specialist embossing machines be able to manage a special order using a different material for your tags? The answer is likely to be negative. The reason your choice of metal tag material is crucial has to do with the embossing machine features. We are always available to help our clients find the best solution for their needs, whether looking for vessel nameplates or inventory tags. As such, we understand the durability and properties of tag materials. Therefore, we appreciate that the tag's thickness may need to vary depending on your material of choice.

Additionally, the force with which the embossing heads strike the material will also differ on the same base. Unfortunately, huge variations in thickness will affect the placement of the tags in the machine. Metal tags have to be loaded and kept as flat as possible to avoid jamming. Imagine you are loading a few thick sheets of paper among your usual to come back to the printer comparison form. They can cause frictions between the paper sheets, leading to thin and fragile sheets folding and jamming the printer. The same principle applies to embossing machines. 

How to Avoid Tag Jams in Variable Data Embossing Machines

Will different tag sizes cause jamming?

All metal embossing machines follow the same principle. First, the team prepares a loader with blank metal tags for our clients' orders. If you order from our website, you can notice that we are experienced in handling tags in a multitude of shapes, namely:

  • Rectangle
  • Cable tie
  • Circle
  • Octagon
  • Oval

Once again, this relates to the fact that embossing machines are not designed to handle other shapes. You can find the relevant information in your embossing manual. As you load the tags inside the data variable embossing machine, you need to ensure that they are the right size for the machine. For instance, large rectangle tags are not embossed simultaneously and on the same machine as small circle tags. This is because tags must remain as flat as possible within the loader to avoid jamming the machine. 

Therefore, the team will need to use different settings and machines to handle all size and shape requirements. 

How to Avoid Tag Jams in Variable Data Embossing Machines

You have to differentiate thickness levels

As mentioned above, the thickness of metal tags can vary greatly depending on your choice of material and the application. For instance, our clients can choose between 5 thickness levels, ranging from .008" to .032". We also offer helpful guidance for clients unsure of the right thickness for their tag material and purpose. Here too, varying thickness levels can affect the flatness of the blank metal tags inside the loader. It is crucial to ensure tags are adequate thickness for the embossing machine and that thicknesses are not mixed during loading. 

Hopefully, this brief guideline can answer tag jam concerns. If you have any questions about a custom order and are worried about tag jams, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our team. We will be happy to assist you and explain the process. Our customized quote allows us to plan for orders of varying volumes, thickness, shapes, and sizes. 

Blank Metal ID Tags by US Quick Tags